Israel’s Netanyahu has the majority for a stable government

Former Israeli Prime Minister and the head of Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara gesture after first exit poll results for the Israeli parliamentary election at his party's headquarters in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party in Israel, could form a stable right-wing government according to the totals of all votes cast in Tuesday’s election, local media reported on Thursday evening.

With all the votes counted, the right-wing, ultra-nationalist, and ultra-Orthodox bloc supporting the former prime minister will have 64 members in Israel’s 120-member parliament, the Knesset. This will enable the Likud leader to form the stable, right-wing majority government he promised in his election campaign. The coalition of incumbent Prime Minister Yair Lapid has 51 seats.

Lapid congratulated Netanyahu on his election victory and gave his staff orders for an orderly transfer of power.

“The state of Israel is above all political considerations (…) I wish Netanyahu every success for the sake of the state of Israel and its people,” Lapid said in a statement.

The votes cast for parties that do not reach the 3.25 percent electoral threshold, more than 6 percent of the total votes cast, will be distributed among the parties that are elected in proportion to the results, strengthening the winning side.

The Arab Balaad party did not pass the threshold, although it did win 3.02 percent of the vote, more than enough for three parliamentary seats. If they had joined forces with the Arab party alliance Hadas-Tal, as expected, their joint list would now have eight MPs, but alone, Hadas-Tal is expected to send only four or five MPs to the Knesset.

The left-wing liberal Merec also failed to get in. This party tried to form an alliance with the social-democratic Labour Party earlier, but its leader Merav Michaeli rejected their request.

Turnout for the election was 71.3 percent.

Likud is seeking swift coalition talks after the final results are published, according to a Likud source who spoke to the Haaretz newspaper. Talks will begin with the Religious Zionists, a religious party alliance, the Eastern Orthodox ultra-Orthodox Sas party and the United Torah Party of the Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox, they said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán congratulated Netanyahu on his social media page.

“What a great victory for Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel! Hard times require strong leaders. Welcome back!” Orbán tweeted on Thursday.

“Thank you my friend, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. I look forward to continue to expand the close friendship between Israel and Hungary,” Netanyahu replied.

The official result of the election will be announced next Wednesday.

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